Issue No. 09 May 2013
From Editor’s Desk: Reflecting on Pain  

Just a few weeks ago, I made my annual pilgrimage to my dentist, only to discover out that my sweet tooth has taken its toll. “The cavity is not too big. So, do you still need anaesthetic?” “No, thank you,” I replied half jokingly, “the pain helps me appreciate life better!” And I am glad to report that I did not regret my decision. But jokes aside, I think I am onto something here after all.

The past century has witnessed the triumph of humanity in so many ways. The revolution of industry since the early 19th century has seen a drastic reduction in hunger and poverty rates, at least in the West. The invention of vaccines and penicillin has also led to a gradual decrease in child mortality and increase in life expectancy. Last but not least, the advent of the anaesthetic (and painkillers) has contributed not only to the development of diverse surgical techniques (you can only cut so much without anaesthetic!), but made a wonderful dream come true for humanity – a life without pain. Henceforth, it seems, there is a painkiller for every body ache. And painkillers like panadol have become that wonder drug which can fend off all sorts of nerve wrecking sensations, be it fevers, migraines or toothaches.

Given our understandably fear for pain, the question may be asked: “what exactly is pain?” With regard to this, the Hippocratic text, The Nature of Man, has, as early as the 5th century BC, recognised pain as a sign of something amiss in the body, an indication of bodily illness (humorial imbalance in Hippocrates’ case). Surely most of us will agree with Hippocrates, since a sharp pain in the arm must mean that it has been pricked or cut, and a cramp in the tummy can only be signs of diarrhoea or something worse! This being said, human reflections on this subject have often focused less on physical pain itself than on that psychic reality where bodily pains are but a metaphor: human suffering.

“You are a pain in the neck,” screams someone. By this, he means that someone has really angered him. “You really broke my heart!” Whosoever hears this will immediately infer that someone has caused much grief to his mother or wife (perhaps). Interestingly, despite our advances in physical pain management, we have not come close to eliminating psychic pain, whether it is the disappointment of a parent, or a child’s fear of PSLE, or the heart wrenching pain we feel when we hear that a loved one has cancer. We would prefer not to experience such ‘pain’, but as God has it, it plagues us every day.

But what exactly is psychic pain? Does it have any meaning? C.S. Lewis, in his Problem of Pain, puts it this way: pain is “God’s megaphone,” meant to attract our attention, so that we will not stray from Him or sink deeper in our sins. There is, of course, lots of wisdom in these words, not withstanding the fact that Lewis will later discover in his A Grief Observed, that there are yet more dimensions to pain than this. I would like to offer a further reflection on this subject. This brings us to my reflection on the dentist’s chair: that pain helps me to appreciate life more. What do I mean by this? Well, pain, strangely speaking, seems to offer us both a sense of loss and a rediscovery of what we have. Take a sore throat for example. Is it not a fact that it is when we lose the ability to swallow food comfortably that we discover what a gift it is to have a healthy throat? Don’t we then become more thankful after we recover? Yet, quite strangely, once we recover from such pains, we often lose this thankfulness quickly and forget how wonderful it is to swallow properly! This being the case, when do we experience or appreciate life most – when we are in pain, or in the absence of pain? So perhaps, on the next occasion when we experience some form of pain, whether physical or psychological, we can take comfort that this is also God’s strange gift to us, to remind us to cherish and experience our lives even more? Just a thought….

Dr Lai Pak Wah

Appointment of Vice Principal

We are pleased to announce that Mr Steven Lee, who has been Provost of BGST since 2009, has agreed to add the role of Vice Principal to his BGST portfolio. In this role he will support the Principal and share the responsibility for the general management, planning and operations of BGST.

Please pray for Steven in his new role.

Chapel News
There will be no chapel on month May, June and first two weeks in July. The next chapel service is on 17 July at our new premises at 50 Kallang Pudding Road, #07-01 Golden Wheel Industrial Building. Dr Philip Satterthwaite will be the worship leader for the first chapel in our new premises.
Chapel starts at 12 noon. You are welcome to join us.
Relocation of BGST

Towards the end of last year, our landlord told us that we would have to vacate our current premises at 37 Jalan Pemimpin by the end of June 2013, a year earlier than we were expecting.

At an EGM held at BGST on 23rd February the members agreed to buy a property in the Golden Wheel Industrial Building, 50 Kallang Pudding Road. It is a freehold property. At present the nearest MRT stations are Aljunied and Potong Pasir, but by 2017 there will be a station on the Downtown Line (Stage 2) within a few minutes’ walk of the property. This should not pose any problems as we will continue to use the premises of our partner churches to hold our classes.

We are delighted that we have been able to buy this property, and grateful to God for making this property available to BGST at an opportune time. Please pray for us, that our operations may be disrupted as little as possible during the move, and that the many new possibilities which open up for us as a result of the relocation will become reality in the years to come.

Philip Satterthwaite

BGST Convocation on 25 May 2013

22nd Convocation


BGST is looking for an Administrative Assistant. The person will join the Admin team and be a part of the school’s administration and academic support team, as well as helping to ensure the smooth operation of the school’s day-to-day functions. In addition to general administrative duties, he/she will also be involved in supporting various functions including publications, events and initiatives of the school. Candidate should be familiar with Microsoft Office software, especially MS Access. For more details please visit our BGST Website.


moving out saleIn preparation of BGST’s relocation, the library will be closed from 16 May - 15 Jun 2013. Please note that:

  1. The library and book corner will be closed on the following Saturdays :

    • 18, 25 May and 1, 8, 15 June

  2. Students may borrow or return books up to 15 May 2013.

  3. Students will not be able to borrow or return books during the shutdown period.

  4. Students taking any courses in Semester 2 will have an automatic extension of all your assignments by an additional month. E.g., a course with a deadline of 1 Aug 2013 will be due on 1 Sep 2013 instead.

Thank you
From the Academic Planning & Library Offices.

June Intensive Course

MM263, 3 Credits

Adjunct Lecturer: Dr Toh See Kiat Mr Benjamin Pwee
Venue: Weekdays: St John's - St Margaret's Church
Rm C205, 30 Dover Avenue, S(139790)
Weekends: Mount Carmel BP Church
Clementi Bible Centre, Rm 03-01, 152 West Coast Road, S(127370)
Dates / Times: Weekdays: Jun 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 20 (Mon, Tue, Thu) - 7:15 - 10:00 pm
Saturdays: Jun 15 & 22 (NOTE: Sat 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, followed by 1:30 - 4:30 pm)
Fees: $450 (for credit); $315 (by audit)

This course is a general introduction to negotiation and conflict resolution. You will be introduced to the biblical principles for dispute resolution; the basic principles of communication and learn why disputes arise; and the basic techniques of negotiation (particularly principles-based negotiation). The course will also introduce you to the different ways to resolve disputes, their strengths and weaknesses and when to use them - traditional litigation (ie suing in court), the alternative dispute resolution (so-called ADR) procedures (IE mediation, arbitration and all the other variations). Some time will be spent on basic skill acquisition in negotiation and mediation.

To view course description, please visit this webpage at http://bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/MM263-Synopsis-13.pdf.

Course Schedules

If you would like to have an overview of the courses we will be offering in Semester 2 of Academic Year 2012-2013, please visit our webpage at http://bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/2012-2013-sem2.pdf.

For Semester 1 of Academic Year 2013-2014, please visit our webpage at http://bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/2013-2014-sem1.pdf.

For course inquiries, please email us at inquiry@bgst.edu.sg

37 Jalan Pemimpin, #06-05 Block B, Clarus Centre, S(577177).
Tel: 6227-6815 Fax: 6255-3686 Email: inquiry@bgst.edu.sg
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